Topos as a concept of social topology
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topos, topology, place, social space, boundary

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Kolinko, M. (2018). Topos as a concept of social topology. Multiversum. Philosophical Almanac, (3-4), 32-44.


The article is devoted to the analysis and definition of topos as a philosophical concept.  Historical and philosophical analysis shows that the concept of topos has deep roots in philosophical culture, since antiquity. But vague semantization and ambiguity leads to uncertainty and mistakes in its use. For this reason, the diversity of interpretations transforms the topos into a resource whose philosophical content remains unclear. The darkening of terminology is linked to the current trend towards interdisciplinary approaches and the combination of different scientific paradigms, which is why topos as a category have moving boundaries. The author points out that Aristotle still misunderstood when he actualized the various shades and meaning of the term topos, depending on the practical utility and development of working tools. In the classical rhetorical tradition, the topos was applied in one of the five canons of rhetoric - invention. The intervention, which was tasked with selecting a topic and preparing to write a speech, offered a coherent program of action, a pre-developed system of concepts. In general, іn ancient logic and rhetoric, topos was articulated as a metaphor for the characterization of «places», where the researcher could find arguments in accordance with the topic. A modern reading of the classification of partial and general Aristotle's topos is presented by a British philosopher of the twentieth century. Stephen Toulmin. It is shown that the formation of an opinion on a particular problem occurs with the participation of topos, which organize the mental space, are confirmed by social practice and are included in the construction of the social world. Topos is an element of the mental scheme, which is organized in the logic of spatial perception of the world. The topological strategy for the study of social phenomena takes into account not only the characteristics of the objects of analysis themselves, but also the contexts and the social and cultural environment, in which they inscribed. The concept of «topos» becomes conventional in social topology and depends on changing conditions, that are formed and accepted by existing social actors. Topos is considered as a boundary, frame of the object of analysis. Boundaries are not self-sufficient, but are defined through relation to another space, as a transition from one space to another.
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